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Security camera laws in Texas: What you need to know now




Eliminating vulnerabilities for your business in Texas requires a plethora of modern solutions and best practices. Some of them, like a first-class video surveillance system, are critical to secure your assets from both internal and external threats and keeping your location safe 24/7/365.

For Texas business owners and security managers working with a veteran security integrator and choosing the right cameras to harden a site can significantly increase your security awareness and boost the sense of safety among your employees and visitors. Advanced cameras, in addition, can act as a potent crime deterrent and a key instrument for recording and reporting security gaps.

Strategic placement of cameras

Once the right video surveillance technologies are selected, it is important to deliberately place your cameras. Outdoors, they can restrain criminals and improve apprehension rates.

This is confirmed by the 2012 study “Understanding Decisions to Burglarize from the Offender’s Perspective,” conducted by the University of North Carolina on the subject, where 422 incarcerated male and female burglars were surveyed and asked a number of questions to determine the effectiveness of sophisticated security camera systems.

The data clearly reflects the efficacy of protecting your site with a smart surveillance solution as the vast majority of the offenders revealed they were affected negatively by the presence of security cameras. About 60% of them said that such a system would cause them to choose another target and discontinue the illicit activity.

Indoor cameras are also indispensable. They can support workflow monitoring, deter employee theft, prevent shoplifting, avoid frivolous lawsuits, reduce your insurance costs, and help you create a safer work environment.

Texas's laws on video surveillance in the workplace

In the Lone Star State, if only video is recorded in the workplace, notice and consent are not mandatory, but suggested. However, if audio is also recorded, notice and consent are required. For customers, signs should be openly posted on-site to indicate the presence of cameras.

  • If you are a property owner or manager, include a clause about video surveillance in your rental agreement.
  • If you are an employer, let your staff know that video monitoring of certain areas will take place and get their written consent. As a business owner, the best way to protect your company from an invasion of privacy allegations is to set clear expectations about employee privacy from the beginning and reinforce these principles with signed agreements.

These are other important TEXAS laws to observe:

  1. Sec. 21.15. A person commits an offense if, without the other person's consent and with intent to invade the privacy of the other person, the person records, broadcasts, or transmits a visual image of areas where it is known that employees may be undressed on a routine basis, i.e., bathrooms or dressing rooms. Invasive visual recording and voyeurism are serious offenses in the Longhorn State.
  2. There is no expectation of privacy in public spaces. Courts rarely find that there is an objectively reasonable expectation of privacy in public, no matter how seemingly private the public space may seem.
  3. Hidden cameras. Video recording (without sound) is usually okay – even if the camera is hidden – unless the person(s) being recorded has a reasonable expectation of privacy, the taping is done for some illegal purpose or there was trespass to record the video.
  4. Only authorized personnel should view surveillance tapes. Defamation and invasion of privacy suits can result if tapes are shown to unauthorized persons.
Audio recording: Texas — a one-party consent state

States are permitted to pass their own laws pertaining to video and audio surveillance. Texas is considered a "one-party consent" state when it comes to recording conversations. This means that under Texas law, Penal Code Sec. 16.02., it is a crime to intentionally intercept or secretly record any wire, oral, or electronic communication without the consent of at least one party.

If you take part in the conversation or gain the consent of one of the parties you may legally record the conversation. If you wish to record a conversation to which you are not a participant, all of the parties must give consent before the recording device is turned on or there must be no reasonable expectation of privacy for the recording to be legal.

However, if during an audio recording in TX there are multiple parties who are in different states, it is vital to be cognizant of other state laws that may require pre-recording consent of all of the parties. In this scenario, if the recording party obtains consent from the other parties before the recording begins, then the recorder is not in violation of wiretapping laws.

The need of a license

Texas requires a state contractors’ license issued by the Texas Private Security Bureau, a Division Of The Texas Department Of Public Safety to install surveillance equipment on public property. Licensed contractors, like Security 101, carry liability insurance and warranty all installations.

A license ensures:

  1. Knowledgeable installation with proper camera placement to keep your organization secure and compliant.
  2. Safe installation to protect against electrical issues and camera failure.
  3. Recourse through your state licensing entity if the installer does a poor job.
  4. Protection against scammers, fraud, and criminals who use security camera installation as a cover.
Lawful use of video surveillance

When employers use video cameras to monitor employees, they must have a legitimate motive to do so. State privacy laws may determine the extent to which video monitoring is considered legitimate. Most of these laws limiting video surveillance use in the workplace pertaining to restrooms, break rooms and other areas for which there is a reasonable expectation of privacy.

It is quite common for retail stores, banks, restaurants, and other employers that interact with the public to use video surveillance in areas where there are valuable items and theft prevention is crucial.

Even if employees who work in cubicles probably think they have some privacy, many companies and businesses of all types monitor employee interactions. Business insurance providers may even offer lower premiums if the insured company has video surveillance of their business.

Regardless of the reason for use, it is always a good idea to let employees know that cameras are being used in the workplace. Moreover, as Texas has very specific laws regarding audio recordings, it is indispensable to closely collaborate with a security professional that is a specialist in protecting businesses with sophisticated video surveillance technologies and who knows in depth the specific laws and regulations at the state and local level in Texas (Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio).

Efficient monitoring is important to protect people and assets. However, it is equally necessary to ensure compliance with Texas’s laws to avoid penalties and liabilities.

Don't risk legal repercussions

Reach out to us now and schedule a consultation with our knowledgeable professionals. We will help you navigate the complex landscape of video surveillance laws effortlessly. Your business deserves the best protection!